Should Authors Be On Instagram?

Instagram is one of the fastest growing social networks in history. The mobile photo and video sharing application, which launched in 2010, now has over 200 million active users, 60 million photos posted each day, and 1.6 billion likes per day. While many authors are active on Facebook and Twitter – the traditional social channels – Instagram may warrant your attention depending on the audience for your book(s).

Brands and professionals – including authors – are joining Instagram at a substantial rate and are dedicating resources to maintain a presence and, thus, grow their audience. In fact, with recent changes to Facebook Pages and the velocity of Twitter, this should not be surprising. Instagram has 15 times more engagement than Facebook, Twitter, or Google +. What was once a simple photo sharing app is now a key sales channel.

Should I Be On Instagram?

Instagram has quickly become the go-to social network for young adults and teens in North America and the UK. In a recent BI Intelligence report, it was said that Instagram has edged out Facebook and Twitter in terms of prestige among young users. Also, while commonly associated with teen girls, Instagram is now more gender-balanced. In the U.S., men now account for about half of Instagram’s users. Interestingly, more than half of American 12-24 year olds said they had an account on Instagram in early 2014.

Users find content they’re interested in by searching hashtags. Currently, the most popular hashtags include #love, #instagood, #tbt (Throwback Thursday), #me, #girl and #photooftheday. While these are the most popular hashtags, you’re likely to find hashtags relating to any subject – including the ones you write about.

So, answering the question “Should I be on Instagram?” is a matter of knowing your intended target audience. If your book is classified as either YA, Romance, Self-Help, or Health/Mind/Body, then it would be wise to be on Instagram and tap into a new audience. If your book is intended for an older audience, it is likely best to remain on traditional social channels. Additionally, due to the visual nature of Instagram, you need to take the time to post eye catching images or videos that will both promote your book’s sales and drive engagement – easier said than done.

How Can I Be Successful On Instagram?

Without question, the best way to be successful on Instagram is to establish a substantial number of followers. You can do this by including audience specific hashtags (i.e. romance authors may want to capitalize on the popularity of the #love hashtag), using the right filters (No Filter, Mayfair, and Inkwell are the most popular), posting at key times, and mentioning specific people (i.e. @digiwriting). Of course, once you have a substantial following, it is up to you to post high quality content and engage your audience. Engagement may come in the form of liking other content and responding back to comments. The great thing about Instagram is that it can be done effortlessly from anywhere via your smartphone.

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